For cyclo-cross fans everywhere this was a huge weekend. It was the weekend of the World Cyclo-Cross Championships. It doesn’t get any bigger or better than this for our sport – this is our Olympics. The best from each country line-up and lay it all out there in one race.
For some the goal is to get to the line and have the opportunity to represent their country. For others the goal is have a top-20, top-10 or top-3 result. For others the goal is to win. Regardless of the goal and the actuality of this goal – the process of setting this goal and going for it is huge.
The passion on display out there in the sand dune of Koksijde, Belgium these past two days has been remarkable. At times, I felt myself tearing up when I watched the delighted winners cross the line. The punching of the air, the pointing to the sky, the chest slapping, the face grabbing, the ear-to-ear smiles – beyond words really – just pure emotion. Perhaps even better was seeing the elation of young Wout van Aert when he crossed the line taking second in the junior men’s race. I met Wout last season – a very pleasant young guy – it was awesome to see him having such a fantastic race and seeing his joy with his accomplishment. In the women’s race – well Sanne Cant was as equally ecstatic with her third place podium finish.
The fans were incredible. It must have been amazing to race in front of 61,000 people. Really, I can’t even fathom how large and loud this crowd must have been. Definitely a top life experience to get to race your bike in front of such a crowd.
To my friends who raced today – congratulations. I’m proud of you. Regardless of your result, be proud of yourself. You just raced in the World Cyclo-Cross Championships and no one can ever take that away from you. To be honest, I’m jealous. I’ve had this same chance but once in my racing career and it is still my top racing experience. There is nothing quite like wearing your nation’s colours and racing in the biggest race on the calendar. Savour today and remember these emotions. Don’t shoulda coulda woulda – you did it. One race doesn’t define you but it sure can motivate you and encourage others to set some big goals and get busy achieving them.
Counting the days to the first race of the 2012-2013 season and happily planning a very long stay in Europe for 2012-2013. A big thanks to the fast women who raced today and reminded me that there are no limits – only possibilities.